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SLUG: 2-288349 Bush Mideast (L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=4/4/02

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=BUSH MIDEAST (L)

NUMBER=2-288349

BYLINE=SCOTT STEARNS

DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: President Bush is calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian-controlled areas. V-O-A's Scott Stearns reports, Mr. Bush is sending Secretary of State Colin Powell to the region next week to push for an end to the fighting.

TEXT: President Bush says he is sending Secretary Powell to the region because the "situation is deteriorating dramatically."

He says Israel must stop settlements in occupied territory and pull its troops out of Palestinian-ruled areas

/// BUSH ACT ///

America recognizes Israel's right to defend itself from terror. Yet to lay the foundations of future peace, I ask Israel to halt incursions into Palestinian-controlled areas and to begin the withdrawal from those cities it has recently occupied.

/// END ACT ///

As Israel steps back, President Bush says responsible Palestinian leaders and Israel's Arab neighbors must step forward and show they are serious about peace.

He says all nations must help deliver a clear message to terrorists - that blowing yourself up does not help the Palestinian cause. To the contrary, Mr. Bush says, suicide bombers could blow-up the best and only hope for a Palestinian state.

/// SECOND BUSH ACT ///

They are not martyrs. They are murderers. And they undermine the cause of the Palestinian people. Those governments like Iraq that reward parents for the sacrifice of their children are guilty of soliciting murder of the worst kind.

/// END ACT ///

President Bush also warned Iran and Syria to "stay out" of the conflict, saying Iranian weapons shipments are helping fuel the violence.

Mr. Bush again called for Palestinian-leader Yasser Arafat to do more to stop attacks against Israeli civilians, saying he is largely to blame for Israel's actions against him.

/// THIRD BUSH ACT ///

The Chairman of the Palestinian Authority has not consistently opposed or confronted terrorists. At Oslo and elsewhere, Chairman Arafat renounced terror as an instrument of his cause and he agreed to control it. He has not done so. The situation in which he finds himself today is largely of his own making. He has missed his opportunities and thereby betrayed the hopes of the people he is supposed to lead.

/// END ACT ///

President Bush says this could be a hopeful moment in the Middle East with a Saudi peace plan that would trade Arab recognition of Israel's right to exist for the return of land Israel occupied during the 1967 war.

He says he is sending Secretary Powell to the region to seize this opportunity before the conflict widens.

/// FOURTH BUSH ACT ///

The outlines of a just settlement are clear: two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security. This can be a time for hope, but it calls for leadership, not for terror.

/// END ACT ///

The president has been under increasing pressure at home and abroad to do more in the Middle East. Mr. Bush is to meet Friday with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss Israeli/Palestinian violence. (SIGNED)

NEB/SS/RAE



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